Bill Self Press Conference Quotes (Jan. 21)

Jan. 21, 2008

Head Coach Bill Self:<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>

On <?xml:namespace prefix=”st1″ ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags”?>IowaState:

“They are better. They are big. Whenever you play your four-man last year at the starting two-guard, you have obviously gotten bigger. Wesley Johnson is on a roll, (Bryan) Peterson is handling the pressure very well and (Craig) Brackins is one of the premier freshmen around. They have a nice team. Greg (McDermott) has done a nice job. If we let them play to their size, we will have some problems, a lot of problems because they are a lot longer than we are.”

On what it means to beat Missouri:

“It means something anytime you beat a rival, especially on the road. I think our guys can get confidence from it, but I don’t think we were ecstatic about how we played. We didn’t play particularly well, but Missouri had a lot to do with that. We have to perform better under stressful conditions than we did Saturday.”

On the positives from the Missouri game:

“We handled the press very well. I don’t know if we turned it over against the press the entire night. We actually did a pretty good job on the defensive boards, but we missed so many free throws that were easy rebounds for them. They missed them too, they just didn’t shoot as many. We did some good things, but certainly our transition defense in the first half stunk, but we did better in the second half.”

On how much the team is practicing free throws:

“We emphasize it, but the more you talk about it, you don’t shoot as well. We have actually been shooting them pretty well up until the Missouri game. We practice them and we emphasize them, but not to the point that fans think that we should because I think the more you talk about something like that, the more it can become mental.”

On what is motivating the team:

“Guys are competitive and you should be motivated if you are competitive every time you play. I think the biggest thing right now for these guys is that they love to play. It is so much easier to get jacked up and motivated when you are enjoying yourself. We just haven’t had any major let downs from an energy standpoint. Even though are energy wasn’t the best it’s been all year at Mizzou, it has been pretty consistent for the most part all year long.”

On whether the rankings are motivational:

“I think it plays a little bit of a part, but the college basketball season is so long. I think these guys are really motivated by the prospect of being the best when it counts the most. In order to do that, we have to get better each and every day and that is what we talk about.”

On the number two ranking:

“That is where we should be. Memphis started out ahead of us and they haven’t done anything to warrant anyone believing that they haven’t done what they are supposed to do. We have played fairly consistently and I don’t know if being (number) two or one means anything right now. I think it will certainly be motivation for our guys because we haven’t gotten to go where we want to go. I don’t really read much into it, but we are probably about where we deserve to be.”

Senior forward Darnell Jackson

On what was wrong at the Missouri game:

“We just played kind of sluggish. I felt like we played kind of slow. Coach Self told us it was going to be a long game and a tough game. We need to be prepared to go out and play. When teams come at us that hard, we need to calm down and not make any mistakes.”

On IowaState:

“I don’t know anything about them right now, but I know they have a great team and have the same guys they had last year. I know they are a better team and we are going to be ready to play against them Wednesday.”

On IowaState playing well lately:

“We always look at a team the same way we look at every team. It doesn’t matter if their record is 20-0 or 10-10, you have to go out there and play.”

Sophomore forward Darrell Arthur

On what the team learned from the Missouri game:

“We just have to take care of the ball more, get on the glass and do the things that coach wants us to do. We turned the ball over a lot, but it was a pretty tough environment to play in.”

On not being ranked number one:

“I kind of knew Memphis was going to get (the number one ranking) because they were number two and I knew they were going to move up. They can go undefeated pretty easily. We have a tough schedule coming up and anything can happen. We aren’t really worried about that. We are just trying to get some wins in the Big 12.”

On IowaState as a threat:

“They are. They’re pretty good. They return most of their players from last year and they are going to come at us. We just have to maintain our control and play with intensity, play hard.”

Junior Guard Brandon Rush

On being home this week:

“It feels good to get back here and see our fans. The students are back, so it will be a packed house for every single game now.”

On struggling, but still getting a win:

“It was very important to us. Just to have a grind-out game like that against Missouri. Things weren’t going right for us so we had to change things up and we came out with a good win.”

On being 3-0 in the Big 12:

“That’s our main focus right now. Just focusing on the Big 12 and the (Big 12 Conference) tournament after that, but right now we are taking it a game at a time. We have a game against IowaState, so we are focusing on IowaState. We are not going to look past them.”

Freshman Center Cole Aldrich

On the pressure of being number two in the country:

“There is always a little bit of pressure, but there is only as much pressure as you put on yourself. Right now we are just going out, having fun and playing basketball.”

On his improvement:

“The more I come out and play well in big venues like Missouri and at home, it really starts to boost my confidence and coach’s confidence in my play.”